NDIA push for innovative ICT

I previously mentioned the briefing I attended by the National Disability Insurance Agency and Dept of Human Services on their new ICT plan on 16 June. It is clear there were some important messages in there that the wider sector may want to hear. Unfortunately the Agency has taken down links to the event although they’ve sent out a copy of their slides to participants.

Sean Fitzgerald did a great job as MC and provided a very good introduction to the role of AT in his life and full participation.

David Bowen (NDIA CEO) talked about the ‘NDIA Journey to Date’. One slide caught my attention as current hot topics:

David Bowen's sense of what the Agency has learnt

This reflects the NDIS Progress Report: Year 2.  The 2015-2016 Federal budget announced $143M over 4 years to provide the NDIA with an ICT system to support full rollout. So ICT is a big ticket item at this point, but the Agency is very conscious (I think) that some participants and their advocates have felt a bit ‘out of the loop’ as things have developed. So ‘co-design’ is a bit of a buzzword, and the Agency (and the Federal Government Departments generally) are looking for ways to influence and ‘gearing’ their investment.  ‘Facilitate, shape and inform’ based on the evidence, and intervene only when necessary is seen as the way NDIA will deliver on its objectives when the markets have matured.

This was reflected in the presentation by the Dept of Human Services (DHS; currently responsible for Medicare, Centrelink and many of the Federal Government ‘front office’ interactions with citizens) who are designing & planning the ICT solution. The DHS spoke of its capacity and experience, but then shifted gear to speak of it’s Dandelion program for traineeships for people with disability in their ICT Hub, co-design and testing with participants, and innovation for future human-machine interfaces.

Esther Kerr-Smith encouraged the ICT industry to bring their innovation and technology to enhancing the experiences of participants in technology they encounter every day. Rather than specialised technology (AT), can aspects be built into mainstream technologies and system? The NDIA is exploring ways to help catalyse innovation, and then create a ‘pull through’ of new technology with their (and government’s) purchasing power. She outlined the innovation strategy I’ve previously mentioned. The ICT program was seen as a ‘central platform’ to engage the “eMarket” as they’re calling it:

Diagram of the E market platform from the NDIA slides

So there is lots going on, but this seems to set an agenda for the way the Agency is moving forward.  If you are really interested in this stuff, I’d suggest getting in contact with the NDIA ICT team for any future updates they may put out.